Last Updated on June 21, 2022 by Summer Rain Ursomarso

This has been an exciting month in the solar industry, especially for those of us in supply chain. In the twelfth episode of the BayWa r.e. Solar Tech Talk, Aaron Bingham and Tiernay Marsh cover several hot topics, including President Biden’s recent pause on solar tariffs and Aaron’s presentation at Wood Mackenzie’s Solar & Storage Summit.
Then, they are joined by Magnus Asbo, the Senior Director of Technical Marketing for SolarEdge. The three discuss the benefits of SolarEdge’s products, including home resiliency, fire hazard mitigation, and online design support.
Featuring SolarEdge’s Magnus Asbo (6:35)

Highlights from This Episode:

Supply Chain Disruptions (00:54)

President Biden just announced his administration is placing a 24-month bridge period on new tariffs for solar components imported from the 4 Southeast Asian countries identified in the current Department of Commerce’s anti-dumping/circumvention investigation. Tiernay observed, “a lot of vendors had stepped back from sending product to the United States because they were concerned about retroactive duties being applied to their products… There was a lot of discussion about who would take that risk and who would take the potential price increase.”

While this update from the President is good news (and means the retroactive tariffs are no longer a concern), we don’t expect the flow of modules to immediately ramp up. The supply processes will take time to restart, but this is a positive development for solar in the US and BayWa.

Weathering the Supply Chain Storm (03:42)

Aaron was a featured speaker at Wood Mackenzie’s Solar & Storage Summit. “I was there to share my experience in the residential solar+storage space and talk through the supply crunch that we’ve been seeing, [as well as, share] some best practices that installers can use to make sure that they are working with their suppliers to ensure the best possible supply outlook.”

Throughout the course of the presentation, Aaron addressed the most pertinent question for any solar installer right now: What should solar installers know to weather the supply chain storm?

His answer: “Installers planning on adding energy storage to their offering have some legwork to do. They need to plan with their suppliers, develop resources internally to support forecasting in terms of what’s actually going to be installed and make sure that that’s being communicated on a regular basis with their distribution partners. They need to engage with manufacturers to take advantage of training and make sure that they’re in line with any certification requirements that exists. And they need to make sure that they are managing customer demand in a way that makes sense.”

Featuring SolarEdge’s Magnus Asbo (06:35)

The Smart Energy Home of the Future
As we see the cost and uncertainty around fossil fuels increasing, there is a turn towards electrification. “People are using devices that are more suited to electricity,” Magnus said. Part of that is the adoption of EVs and the drive to have more DC-based home electric production and use, rather than AC.

“Use of DC is very advantageous because it takes some of the burden off of the existing AC infrastructure,” Magnus said. “So if you have a DC battery and you hook it up to the AC panel, you have to have inverters going both ways and you’re going to lose energy… [The same thing happens] if you have a DC charger for your car [that] has to hook up to the AC panel,” he continued.
“Going to a more DC-based paradigm really cuts down on [energy] costs in the long run. And it also increases the efficiency of the home while at the same time making it so that your likelihood of having to do a service upgrade or a main panel upgrade is decreased.” That’s a win-win.
-- Magnus Asbo

Senior Director of Technical Marketing, SolarEdge

 
DC Operating Systems
When creating a more holistic ecosystem using DC, homeowners focus on increasing energy storage so when the grid goes down their homes are more secure. “The trick in any system – whether it’s on-grid or off-grid – is to be able to figure out how to use your self-generated energy when you need it,” Marcus explained. “If you’re off-grid, then you want to make sure you can consume [the] energy that you want without having to think about it too hard. You don’t want to have to sit there staring at a light switch, trying to decide whether you can afford to turn on a light or not.”

In other words, your system should manage itself and provide the energy you need when and where you need it. For SolarEdge, this obvious need has morphed into their development of new tools to guide energy reliability. The company’s new series of smart energy devices allows for specially designated usage of certain appliances during certain times.

Economics Meet Resiliency
Designating appliance power usage is especially important when it comes to saving money on electric bills. With Time of Use (TOU) rates, we see that “energy used when we’re home is much more expensive than when we’re away,” says Marcus.

“The dual desire to control how much energy you’re consuming when you don’t have the grid [supplying energy]… coupled with the desire to change when you use the energy while you’re on the grid” is one of the most prominent ways homeowners are managing their economics.”
-- Magnus Asbo

Senior Director of Technical Marketing, SolarEdge

Safe and Easy Battery Install
As SolarEdge continually enhances their product benefits, reducing space requirements and increasing safety is a top priority. The company’s newest batteries are backed by UL-9548 testing that requires proof that their batteries mitigate possible thermal runaway disasters.

“The test essentially is proof that under the worst conditions that can be conceived of… that the risk of any propagation of fire is very, very low,” Magnus said. This means that no matter which battery cell a fire might start in, it is unlikely to spread to other cells and propagate a larger fire, i.e., a thermal runaway event. While this risk of fire is very low to begin with, homeowners concerned about safety can be even more reassured.

And, until recent upgrades to SolarEdge’s products, all batteries had to be stored far apart. “Generally, the fire code says that if you’ve got two batteries you should put them about three feet apart,” Magnus explained. This can be a stress on a solar installer’s design team. With the new safety features of SolarEdge batteries “you can now put the batteries within six inches [of each other].” SolarEdge even has a letter that can be shared with electrical inspectors to prove this point.
“…Until recent upgrades to SolarEdge’s products, all batteries had to be stored far apart… With the new safety features of SolarEdge batteries you can now put the batteries within six inches [of each other].”
-- Magnus Asbo

Senior Director of Technical Marketing, SolarEdge

New Releases – Stay Tuned!
SolarEdge’s safety in their batteries also extends to their other products, specifically to prevent arc faults in wiring between the battery and inverter. “Over the next couple of months [we are rolling out] SunConnect,” Magnus shared. This new development allows the SolarEdge system to detect where possible arc events might occur and send an alert.

“We are now actually measuring the temperature of the connectors in order to ensure that if you’re starting to see an arc [SunConnect] will detect it. And when we detect an issue, we will initially flag it… but if it’s [getting] very hot, we will shut down the system and alert whoever is monitoring the system that there is an issue that needs to be addressed,” said Magnus. This combination of SolarEdge’s inverter monitoring system and their newly launched optimizers helps create another level of safety. (SE-S440 optimizers now available in BayWa r.e. webstore.)

Easy Energy System Modeling
SolarEdge’s smart home devices can also easily be designed into optimized clean energy systems by using the manufacturer’s free online designer. What does this online design tool offer?

  • 3D modeling that provides opportunity to see performance due to shading over time
  • Roof outline detection on outer parts of the roof and on the inner edges
  • Optimizer matching to match modules, including which will equipment pairings will or will not void warranties
  • Battery modeling for easy of storage design
  • Home energy consumption modeling to optimize for Time of Use rates and economic efficiency
  • Upload AutoCAD drawings for direct module placement and calculations within drawings
  • Exportable file types for transfer of design from SolarEdge designer into AutoCAD

BayWa r.e. Solar Systems LLC supplies residential and commercial solar installers in the United States with quality solar + storage components, forecasting, business planning advice, and a community of experts. Visit www.solar-distribution.com to read our industry insights articles and stream our Solar Tech Talk and Solar Town Hall podcasts on YouTube and Spotify. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to stay connected. Ask us about our Split Pay financing program and use our industry-leading Webstore to save time, get gear shipped, and get jobs done! Part of the BayWa r.e. Global family of renewable energy companies.